“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” —Dr. Seuss
Friday, May 29th of 2015 was the night another chapter in my life closed: The chapter titled “High School.” In the grand scheme of things, high school graduation is (hopefully) not the greatest milestone I will reach. But right now, as an 18-year-old who just graduated, it’s a pretty big deal. To be honest, it still feels so surreal—high school is over forever, but I still feel like I should be doing homework or worrying about my grades or going to a sports game to cheer on my classmates. High school was a four-year-long chapter, and it was filled with highs and lows, good and bad. I made some of my best friends throughout the years, and as cliché as it sounds, I don’t know where I would be today if I had never met them. The people you surround yourself with truly do have an impact on who you become as a person, and they can influence you either positively or negatively. Though I have had friendships that faded away, those instances have shaped who I am almost as much as the positive, if not more so at times. My friends and I don’t always agree on everything, and we have our share of frustrations with each other; but at the end of the day, I love them all anyways, and I will definitely miss them when we all go our separate ways this fall.
Even as I sit here, several days after graduation, I still can’t believe that it’s over. I spent 13 years of my life at that same building, learning and growing mentally and spiritually. (I would add physically, but my athleticism is below average and my effort in PE was less than desirable.) Perhaps it’s different for those who switch schools or transfer to different buildings, but for me, when someone says the word “school,” LCA is the only place that comes to mind. Those are the only hallways I have ever known when it comes to education, and it’s going to be a big change to be learning elsewhere in the fall.
Everyone always told me that high school would go by fast, and that each year would slip by a little faster than the one prior. I wrote that off as “stupid adult advice” for a few years, but starting around the end of sophomore year, I began to realize how true those words were. “Wow, I’m halfway through high school,” I remember thinking on the last day of sophomore year. “Two years down, but I still have two more to go.” It seems like more than two years have gone by since I last thought that, but at the same time, it almost feels like it wasn’t that long ago after all. Junior year went by fast, but senior year flew by even quicker. Senior trip was in September, but it feels like it was just a few months ago—that’s how quickly time can fly when high school takes you by storm. If asked, I offer the same advice to underclassmen that I was given as a freshman: Enjoy high school because it goes by quickly, and don’t take anything for granted. Nobody truly listens to that at age 14, and I’ve come to realize that enjoying the life you have when you have it is something that most people have to learn through time and experience. I can tell you right now that there were a lot of times—even in the last few months of senior year—where I took things for granted and didn’t appreciate where I was in life at the time. As glad as I am to be done with high school and the building I spent 13 years of my life in, I know there are things about it I’m going to miss. I’ll miss some friends, for one, and some of the teachers that guided me over the years. I’ll even miss band, as nerdy as that sounds. Some things I’m 100% positive I won’t miss, but then again, maybe I will miss them subconsciously—who knows.
Regardless, the past four years have been good ones, and I’ve made memories that will last in my mind for the rest of my life. And even though I know a lot teens and young adults don’t truly listen to advice about cherishing the moment, I’m going to say it anyways: Don’t spend half your life worrying about the past or future—just appreciate where you are right now, because if you’re not careful, the present will soon become the past you regret.